Gary Rowett reveals his tactical plan for Birmingham's visit to Newcastle

Gary Rowett

Gary Rowett

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Gary Rowett is planning a tactical change for Birmingham City's visit to St James's Park.

Rowett's side, beaten 3-0 by Barnsley last weekend, are fifth in the Championship table and nine points behind leaders Newcastle United.

And City manager Rowett is looking to limit the space for Rafa Benitez's team.

"There are not many clubs that would massively change the way they play when they’re winning games and in a really handy position in the league," said Rowett.

"But we’ve been aware that probably over the last four or five games, by playing two up front sometimes that leaves spaces in midfield and sometimes encourages the two midfielders to play a bit higher and offer the back four less cover.

"Sometimes when you’re on the ball you’ve got less passing options because your lines are perhaps a little bit flatter. So, there are lots of different areas that 4-4-2 can cause you a problem, particularly with the two strikers we’ve got playing it.

"We haven’t got a natural No 10 playing as a striker that can drop in to those spaces. It’s something we’ve looked at. When you’re playing a very good team, technically and tactically, away from home, then what you don’t want is lots of space on the pitch.

"So, whichever way we do it, we’ll have to make sure we limit space in certain areas.

"But also that we have some really good attacking options, because you can’t go somewhere like Newcastle and defend for vast periods of the game and expect to come away with a result."